NHS is a national program that recognizes students for excellence in scholarship, service, leadership and character. Its chapter at East is looked upon favorably by colleges and shows the high-achieving qualities of each of the candidates.
To be considered for National Honors Society, students must have 3.5 or higher unweighted GPA. Invitations are mailed to the candidates the June after their sophomore or junior year.
Once invited to be in the program, students must complete 30 hours of service, 15 of which must be unrelated to school. Half of the hours must be completed by Oct. 31, and the other half are due in May.
Students must also show leadership. There is a variety of ways students can do this, but at least one must be school related and vouched for by an East teacher or coach.
“Maybe that looks like helping a coach at a soccer practice, maybe that’s going to help little girls with dance,” said 2015 co-sponsor Melinda DiGirolamo. “We just get so many great examples how have kids have been good leaders in the community, in and outside of Shawnee Mission East.”
Lastly, students display character by having no disciplinary referrals, which the sponsors check with the administration for. If students meet all the criteria, they are inducted into the program at a ceremony in early November. At the ceremony, receive their certificates and are become members of NHS.
Each year the sponsors choose co-presidents based on their commitment to the chapter, and together they plan meetings and keep everyone informed about what’s going on.
“The biggest thing was over the summer we met to send out the letters to the current juniors,” 2015 co-president Claire Whittaker said.
Between the current members and those eligible for induction, 150 students are involved at East.
“It’s great to see how kids get involved and how that at such a young age the service component is really instilled in so many of these students,” DiGirolamo said.